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USDA sets sign-up date for erodible land plan

HURON -- USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Craig Schaunaman has announced that FSA is accepting Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) offers under the Highly Erodible Land Initiative (HELI).

South Dakota was allocated 9,600 acres under this initiative. Signup will continue until theses acres are exhausted or Sept. 30, whichever comes first.

To be eligible, cropland must have an Erodibility Index (EI) of 20 or greater; have been cropped or considered cropped 4 of the 6 crop years from 2002-2007; and be considered needed and feasible to solve the resource concern.

Cropland that is currently devoted to grass will not meet the needs and feasibility test, except for cropland that is currently under a CRP contract that is scheduled to expire Sept. 30.

"All counties have soil types and conditions that will meet the EI of 20 or greater, but this type of land is most prevalent in the western part of South Dakota," said Schaunaman.

This initiative is part of an overall effort announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in March to devote an additional 1 million acres of land in a new CRP Initiative to restore grasslands, wetlands and wildlife.

Under this effort, South Dakota has also received additional acres for several wetland practices including the popular Duck Nesting Habitat.

"It is anticipated that producers in the eastern part of the state will utilize the wetland practices and that the HEL Initiative will be utilized by counties located west of the Missouri River," he said.

Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office or visit FSA's website at for additional information regarding CRP.